Guru Stotram

The term “stotram” refers to the hymn addressed to a deity with the most common forms being a conversation, a description and a prayer. Keep in mind that an stotram praise certain aspects of the deity being worshiped, said deity of which may be Vishnu, Shiva or Devi. Thus, a guru stotram can be described as a hymn addressed to a deity considered as the ultimate guru of mankind.

Examples include:

• The Guru Gita, which is a dialogue between Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati. It is part of the Skanda Purana specifically in the Uttarakhand section. In it, Parvati asks Lord Shiva to teach her about the Guru. Shiva then proceeds to describe the principle of Guru, the benefits of repeating the hymn, and the proper worship of the Guru.

• The Shiva Tandava stotram consists of 16 syllables per line in the quatrain; the laghu and guru characters alternate. It describes the immense power and beauty of Shiva with the conclusion listing down the deity’s epithets as the ultimate destroyer even of death. This is arguably the most popular guru stotram partly because of the riveting story involving Ravana receiving the boon of indestructibility from Lord Shiva himself.

• Ram Raksha Stotra is a hymn asking for the protection of Lord Rama. It was written by Budha Kaushika, a saint, during the Vedic period. Its literal meaning is “Protection given by Lord Rama” and it was supposedly sung by Lord Rama himself to Budha Kaushika, the former appearing in a dream to the latter. It consists of 38 stanzas, which are recited in public during religious festivals particularly during the Navaratri.

It must be noted that a guru stotram is not bound by any of the strict rules applied to the ancient Indian scriptures notably the Vedas. You can make up your own hymns of praise to the guru/deity of your choice. The most important thing is that it is sung from the heart and soul.

For example, you can chant the litany of known names and attributes of Lord Shiva. You have now just recited a guru stotram in praise of the Divine and, in the process, elevated your soul.

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